Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Finish The Race With Prayer



If you'd rather see the video of this message, it may be found HERE. (MP3 is also available.) Find the listing for April 3, 2011.

This article is used with permission.


FINISH THE RACE WITH PRAYER
by Carter Conlon

“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:22–24).

Considering these words of Jesus, one cannot help but wonder why it is so hard for many of God’s people to pray. After all, if we truly believed these three verses of Scripture, wouldn’t we be running into the prayer closet every day? Wouldn’t prayer be the very essence of our life? Imagine having a friend with a billion dollars tell you, “Whenever you have a need, call me and it will be yours.” Don’t you think you would dial that number once in a while? Yet we have the very God of the universe saying, “I will move anything out of your way that hinders you. I will give you all you desire if you pray and believe.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to finish the race with prayer. I have seen the fruit of prayer in great measure over the years, but I never want to get to the point of concluding that I have received enough. If God has more of His life for me, more ways that He can glorify Himself through me, I would be a fool to stop praying and start relying on something other than the words that come from the very heart of God.

So why is it so hard to pray? Obviously the devil is against prayer. All through the Scriptures we see what happened as a result of prayer—babies were conceived in barren wombs, the old were made strong, the miraculous abounded—so, of course, Satan is going to oppose us whenever we decide to pray. However, is it possible that there is something in our own hearts that hinders us as well?


OUR OWN HEARTS CONDEMN US


I believe that many people cannot pray because they constantly feel condemned. Imagine how difficult it would be to visit a friend who always magnified your faults and criticized your most sincere efforts. Although you come in happy, suddenly your spirits are dampened as this friend starts pointing out everything that you are not doing right.

Have you ever encountered something similar in the prayer closet? When I was a young Christian, I had a difficult time with this. If I prayed fifty-eight minutes, I would walk away and a small voice would say, “What? Could you not pray with Me one hour?” If I prayed an hour and five minutes, the voice would say, “Is that all of the twenty-four hours of your day that you can spare for the Lord?”

Of course, this constant condemnation was from my own heart, although it is easy for us to mistakenly attribute such thoughts to God. Because of this, we enter the prayer closet in a manner much like Peter in Acts 10. The Scripture says that Peter went up on a rooftop, and as he began to pray, a sheet was let down by its four corners and contained all kinds of unclean beasts, birds and insects. This is exactly what our prayer life can be like—as we go into that secret place and get on our knees to pray, immediately a sheet comes down containing all our failings, faults, struggles and shortcomings.

Does this sound familiar? All the things you did wrong, all the places where you fell short as a Christian, all these little things come to your mind—as if that is all God remembers. However, notice that the Lord instructed Peter, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat” (Acts 10:13). In other words, “Be nourished, Peter. Strengthen yourself during this time of revelation that I am giving to you.” Peter insisted, “No, I can’t do that because there is such uncleanness here.” In a similar way, many people today cannot grow in grace or lay hold of the promises of God because of a constant awareness of their uncleanness.

The Lord replied to Peter, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common” (Acts 10:15). When we go into the prayer closet, we must understand that we have been cleansed from all sin by the blood of Jesus Christ, and we are not to call ourselves unclean anymore. The Bible says that in Christ we are the righteousness of God. In other words, we are as clean as God is—which would actually seem almost blasphemous if it were not written in the Scriptures.

I thank God for the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ. I thank God that I do not have to be strong to go into the prayer closet. As a matter of fact, the book of Hebrews tells me that it is in my time of need that I should go to the throne of God. It is when I need strength, direction, empowerment and help that I should go boldly to the throne of grace (see Hebrews 4:16). As His children, we have an open invitation to come into the presence of our heavenly Father.

Remember that the apostle Paul said, “Be careful for nothing...” In other words, do not be weighed down; do not let the enemy or your own heart condemn you. “...but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). How can we come into the prayer closet with thanksgiving if we do not believe that we are already received of God? We must be convinced that it is God’s delight to manifest the life of His Son in us—to give us the things that we need to represent Him on the earth. That is the key to praying with thanksgiving.


ASKING AMISS


Another reason we may have difficulty praying is because our desires are not in line with God’s desires for us. “...Ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:2–3). You and I are left on the earth to make known the love of God—the love that sent His Son to a cross—and to glorify the Son. Christ bought the redemption, but we are to bring the reality of that redemption—the reality of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Yet when we forget this purpose, we ask amiss, and then we wonder why our prayers are not answered.

Think for a moment of what can result when we pray in line with God’s desires. When the 120 came out of the Upper Room in the Book of Acts, God had supplied them with the strength that they had prayed for—a supernatural strength that replaced mountains of fear and unbelief. There they were, 120 predominantly uneducated people, simply bursting into the marketplace among those who still had the blood of anger on their lips toward followers of Jesus Christ. Yet these disciples were filled with boldness and the presence of God.

The Greek word megaleios means they were speaking of the anticipated outworking of the inward life of God. They were speaking about what God was going to do, what He had given them, the faith that was alive in their hearts. The religious looked at this and essentially said, “Wow! There is nothing of our religion that has ever given us anything like this! What must we do to be saved?”

Or consider the story in Genesis 24 where Abraham told his servant to go back to his country and find a bride for his son Isaac. This servant journeyed out to the land of Abraham’s family and prayed, “Lord, if You have prospered my journey, and if You are going to be favorable to my master, lead me to the bride for his son” (see Genesis 24:12–14).

The Scripture says that before he was done speaking, Rebekah came out with her pitcher on her shoulder (Genesis 24:15) before he was done speaking! This servant had traveled a long distance, was in a very large place among a crowd of strangers, and did not even know where Abraham’s family was. However, he prayed, and the miraculous began to unlock. I thank God that Abraham’s servant was not a strategist. I thank God there were no phone books or cell phones available. In that generation he did what every man should do—he prayed! And when he prayed, God sovereignly began to answer that prayer. Rebekah was grafted into the lineage of Jesus Christ, and from this came Jacob, the patriarchs of Israel, and ultimately the Son of God Himself. What incredible results we see when we do not ask amiss.


FEAR OF WHAT GOD MAY ASK


Many times we cannot pray because we are unwilling to follow the pathway that may open up before us. We are afraid that God is going to ask something of us that we are not willing to give up. In Acts 8, we read the account of a man named Philip who had a marvelous ministry in Samaria. Multitudes were being saved and healed and even the original apostles had taken notice of his ministry. Yet, while in prayer, Philip was asked to leave what most would view as security and success—all to go to a barren place, into a situation he did not understand.

You and I tend to have a view of what our lives should be and what success is. Therefore we are not willing to go into the prayer closet lest God ask us to do something that is not on our agenda. That is why some churches today are filled with people who are simply using Jesus Christ to further their own agenda rather than the will of God.

Philip chose to obey God and left Samaria for a desert place. It was in that desert that he experienced a miracle—a man of authority from Ethiopia being brought to the knowledge of Jesus Christ. After baptizing this Ethiopian eunuch, the Scripture says that Philip was translated by the Spirit of God. The Lord just took him and placed him in another city about thirty miles away! Obedience to leave what we view as success can actually be what opens to us the supernatural.

Of course, that does not mean that once we have a willingness to obey, we suddenly understand the full picture. God simply calls us to take that first step of obedience by faith. Philip’s obedience brought the gospel—the first record we have of the gospel of Jesus Christ—into the northern parts of Africa. As we walk in obedience to the will of God and our desires are in line with His, we have the right to come into the prayer closet and say, “Lord, I need this” and suddenly we see the miraculous begin to unfold.

Later in the book of Acts we find the story of a disciple named Ananias. As Ananias was praying one day, God said to him, “There is a man called Saul of Tarsus staying down at his house on Straight Street. I want you to go down and lay hands on him. I am going to heal him and fill him with the Holy Ghost” (see Acts 9:11–12). Ananias essentially replied, “Lord, is this the same Saul that has done great harm to Your people in Jerusalem? I have heard that he has authority from the priests to put in prison all who call upon Your name. Now You are asking me to go lay hands on this man?”

Nevertheless, Ananias obeyed the word he received in prayer. As he prayed for Paul, scales fell from Paul’s eyes and he soon began to go out and preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Christ. Thank God for Ananias’ obedience! What if he had not obeyed God—if he had gone into the prayer closet and pushed out of his mind everything that was detrimental to his own safety and security?

I cannot get over the thought of the incredible, explosive power that is available if we have the courage to go to prayer and ask, “Lord, what would You have me to do?”—and then have a heart that is willing to obey whatever God asks of us.


SPEAK TO THE MOUNTAIN


Just preceding our opening Scripture (Mark 11:22), Jesus had cursed a fig tree that had an appearance of fruitfulness but was actually barren. He had come to what was a type of religion, a type of a relationship with God. He looked for life on it, but there was none. The fig tree represents everything within us that has no ability to let the power and strength of Jesus be manifested through us to others—everything in us that hinders, everything that does not represent the life of God, all that falls short of His glory. Remember, it was fig leaves that Adam and Eve used to cover themselves in the Garden of Eden. You and I have the power in Christ to curse this—to speak to this area in our own hearts and say, “No longer will you govern me.”

“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23). Jesus said we have the authority to speak not only to the fig tree but also to the mountain. The mountain is the soil—that which gives life and allows things that do not represent God to survive. We have the power to cast into the sea everything that feeds this powerlessness and allows God look-alikes to flourish in our lives. We can cast them away and expect God to replace them with what we need to glorify Him on the earth.

In other words, whatever the devil has said you cannot do, whatever your own heart says will never change, whatever fear there is within you—that is the mountain. That is where you must stand and say, “I do not believe the lie—I believe what Jesus has spoken. Today I speak to this mountain, and I command it in the name of Jesus Christ to be cast away from me and planted in the midst of the sea!”

It is time to have faith in God. It is time to pray and expect the Lord to answer. Oh, what an hour to rise up and be the Church again! What an hour to go into the prayer closet with boldness despite all our weaknesses and come out with the strength of God. What an hour to have a clear mind, a clean heart, a fresh vision for the future, new strength that comes from God alone. What an hour to be equipped with the power of God.


Thank God that as we come to Him in faith, He will hear our prayers and give us strength. He will open our mouths to speak His Word. He will vanquish our enemies, endow us with giftings that we do not naturally have and enable us to face the days that we are living in now. There is going to be a new song in our hearts, and we are going to finish the race with prayer!



Carter Conlon
©2011 Times Square Church

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Day That Jesus Left His Friends


THE DAY THAT JESUS LEFT HIS FRIENDS
by Carter Conlon
This article is used by permission, and can be found at:http://www.tscnyc.org/

I am so thankful for friends and fellowship in the body of Jesus Christ. It is wonderful to be able to encourage one another, to spur each other on to continue in the faith, to have a word that might help lift another’s burden. The Bible clearly exhorts us not to forsake assembling together— in even greater measure as we see the Lord’s return drawing nearer (see Hebrews 10:25). Yes, I have enjoyed many marvelous moments of friendship over the years. Nevertheless, I also have found that God often calls me to a place where I must journey alone.

“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:26–30).

Here we see fellowship around a table, with Jesus openly declaring His intent to obey the calling of His Father, regardless of the personal cost. He was essentially telling them, “As you see this bread broken, I am going to be broken for you. Not only for you, but for all people who will turn to God through Me. Just as you see this juice being poured out, My blood is going to be spilled upon the ground for the redemption of all humanity.”

I am sure many of us have openly declared our desire to obey God to the fullest. We have gone to an altar and prayed, “Oh, God, take me the full journey; use my life for Your glory. Make me into what You want me to be!”

Six months after praying a prayer like that, you may have found yourself screaming, “Lord, what are you doing to me?” And the Lord answers, “Well, I am just answering your prayer. You said you wanted to take up your cross and follow Me, so that is what you are doing!” It is not merely a theological cross that you take up, of course. There must be a practical inward and outward working of it.


UNFULFILLED PROMISES


“Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended...Likewise also said all the disciples” (Matthew 26:31–35).

We have all had friends say, “I am in this with you; we are going over the finish line together!” I cannot help but wonder if, in this context, Jesus was tempted to lean on His friends for this final and most pivotal part of His earthly journey. Hebrews 4:15 tells us Jesus fully understands and feels our struggles and weaknesses, for He “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” The God side of Jesus Christ could not be tempted, but the man side of Him could be.

“Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy” (Matthew 26:36–37). Jesus was approaching that final moment when He would give His life for all the sins of humanity. Into this place of prayer He chose to take Peter, James and John—His closest friends on earth, His inner circle. They had seen His transformation; they had been with Him when He raised the dead—they knew who He was.

As Jesus took them into the garden of Gethsemane with Him, He shared with them the agony of His heart. “...My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). In other words, “I am going into a time of intense agony, and I am asking you to be with Me. I am asking for your support, your prayer, your help. You promised Me that you would not deny Me. You promised Me that you would stand with Me, even unto death. You promised Me that no matter how difficult it got, you would not walk away from Me. Now I am asking you to stay here with Me.”

Jesus went a little farther beyond them into the garden and began to pray, His sweat dripping as blood because of the agony that lay ahead. I find it very interesting because He then got up and went back to His inner circle. Although Jesus was seeking strength from His Father—the only source of true strength—He also went back to His disciples. When He found them asleep, He said to Peter, “...What, could ye not watch with me one hour?” (Matthew 26:40). Do you think Jesus could have been tempted to be disillusioned, perhaps even bitter, with His friends? He could have been tempted to question Peter, James and John, “After pouring My heart and life into you for over three years, could you not have given Me one hour when I needed you most?”

During our journey, there will be places where God calls us to go individually. However, it is during those times that we will often be faced with the temptation to lean on our friends. While we theologically know that our only source of strength is God, we all have the human tendency to come back and lean on people. You and I run into a crisis and go into the prayer closet—yet we are not even halfway through our prayers when suddenly we are on the telephone calling somebody seeking counsel. We are looking for strength from God, but we also are looking to people for what only God can give. And there is a temptation in the heart to get bitter when we are looking in a dual place.

Remember that the Bible says, “...Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm...” (Jeremiah 17:5). Flesh will always fail. As wonderful as fellowship is, as wonderful as the promises that we have made to each other are, we simply are not capable of keeping those promises, for we are all built of the same frail cloth. The disciples were not at a place in their spiritual journey where they could share in or understand what Jesus was asking them to do.

“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy” (Matthew 26:42–43). I see this as a last backward glance for the help of man. After all, why did Jesus come back a second time instead of just staying there to pray? It is as if He simply was looking for help, for companionship, for strength—only to find His disciples asleep.

It is only my opinion, but I believe that the Father in His mercy put them to sleep, for it was the strength of God alone that could take Jesus on this last and final step of His journey. There are times in our lives when God calls each child of His into his or her own Gethsemane, and nobody else can understand it; nobody else can help them there. People may offer words of encouragement and promise, but ultimately they will end up asleep because it is not their moment.


NECESSARY WOUNDS


A specific tree in Israel normally yields large amounts of fruit, yet sometimes it starts bearing less than it should. In our natural compassion we would start reading manuals about how to encourage this tree, how to go around the root system, how to give it certain types of fertilizer to help it grow and bear more fruit. Yet the true keeper of the vineyard comes with a huge machete in his hand and literally hacks the tree full swing on the side, causing the sap within to bleed out. At that point the tree has only two choices—it either goes down deep to find water or it dies. Most of the trees go down deep and eventually the wound heals because it finds itself in a root system drawing water from depths that ordinary trees cannot reach.

Similarly, if you desire to walk as Jesus did, you will not escape the classroom of being wounded. People you trusted will fall short. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend...” Faithful. Did you know that God will even assign people to wound you—to fail you, to fall short of what you think friendship should be—in order to get your roots to go down deeper? Are you convinced that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose? (See Romans 8:28.) We tend to spend so much time rehearsing wounds of the past that we fail to understand that God is the author of these things in order that we might bear much fruit in His kingdom.

“And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words” (Matthew 26:44). Jesus left them! There simply comes a point when you have to leave your friends. You must leave this reliance on flesh and move into that place where the Holy Spirit is calling you—a place deeper and farther than natural man can go. It might even be a small journey from where you are today—just a small step. It does not mean that you leave your friends behind. It means that you come back and are more committed to them than ever.


RETURNING IN POWER


The last part of the journey is where you and I are called to be fully given for all people in spite of their response to us. Nobody but God can give us the strength to go to that place—to the place where we come back. The Scripture says that Jesus left the disciples, and when He later returned, He said to them, “...Sleep on now...” (Matthew 26:45). Jesus was not looking for strength from them, but instead He returned with the strength of God in Himself for them.

Note that when Jesus came back this third time, He was not bitter or indifferent. In fact, the fellowship was about to become sweeter. Genuinely sweet fellowship in the church of Jesus Christ is when I am not looking for anything from you, nor are you looking for anything from me. Instead, we are both given for each other. That is the sweetest fellowship there is.

Jesus Himself said, “No one that the Father has given me is going to perish except the son of perdition” (see John 17:12). Chosen to wound Him; chosen to betray Him—that was all part of the plan of God. Yet how many people fail at this point? How many get saved, walk with God, attend Bible studies, embrace the Scriptures, sing the hymns of Zion, but fail right at the finish line because they cannot accept that this kingdom is all about being given for other people? It is all about a God who is good to the unthankful and the unholy; who sends rain on the just and on the unjust. We are called to represent Him in the earth, yet how can we do so if we do not carry the heart of God within us? How will we ever make a difference unless we have been empowered by God Himself to come back and, whether or not it is ever reciprocated, be given for all people?

Remember that Jesus had to endure the betrayal of all His disciples, who fled in fearfulness. Yet God ultimately brought Him to a point where He could come back and enter an upper room full of those who had denied Him and simply say, “...Peace be unto you” (John 20:19). Jesus then breathed on His disciples, saying, “...Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22), and sent them out as the Father had sent Him.

And what do they end up doing? They go back to their fishing! Nevertheless, Jesus returned to them and was on the shore baking bread and cooking fish—calling them in, talking about love. He had come to a place where He was fully given for His friends.


LETTING GO OF GRIEVANCES


It is time for us to leave behind those moments when we were failed by the people we needed. Perhaps for you it was parents in your youth, a marriage partner who walked out, or church leaders who disappointed you. Whatever the circumstance, you must get beyond the grievances of man—beyond harboring and nurturing in your mind the failures of humanity.

Over the years I have seen that many people never get beyond that point. They sit in church, but when you dig down deep, it becomes apparent that they still have an inner grievance against people, particularly those they once considered to be their friends in church. They can still sing the songs, still clap their hands and say, “Praise the Lord”—as long as the one who betrayed them stays about five feet away. Their fellowship becomes selective, and they start seeking out people they believe will not hurt them again. Unfortunately, they do not realize how far short of the glory of God they have fallen.

When we choose to press in to find the strength that only God can give, we will no longer have our list of grievances. Instead, we will have a heart that says, “Slap my face if you will, but by the power of God I shall be given for all people. Put me in jail, laugh me out of the workplace, but God has given me the strength to be given for others.”

There is a time when we must leave our friends for just a moment and find strength that can come only from God. God forbid that in this hour you and I should stop just near the end of the journey—that short distance of going from leaning on people to coming back in the power of God.

When we return in the power of God, we do not come back aloof or with resentment toward others. We come back ready to be given for all men, even our enemies. We are no longer looking to draw from others, and therefore we return to experience a fellowship that is much deeper and sweeter—the true fellowship of Christ!

Carter Conlon
©2011 Times Square Church

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Father, thank You for HELPING US to lean upon YOUR EVERLASTING ARMS, in Jesus' Name.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I AM is speaking....

God said: CRY (The prophets answered) What shall I cry?

My prophets do not come forth from their abodes,with their learning, and their own desires. My prophets come forth from My PRESENCE.

From the hidden, Secret Place - the wilderness, the desert and Secret Places. My prophets depend on Me and speak only what I say.

Not religion - not according to men’s ways, wants or desires. I, the Lord, bring forth Light. I am the Sustainer of all Living. I breathe on My Creation - It Lives.

Watch, Watch. I shall speak at the appointed time, with Divine Visitation, Divine Words for a world of appointed people.

My prophets see, hear, speak, think as I do. They speak My heart.

Return to your first Love. Return, return, repent, call for My cleansing, healing, refreshing, Life, presence. Call, sin is exposed, nakedness appears. Don’t hide in darkness. Come to Me and live. I am the Savior, Restorer, Life Giver. I am the Gracious Father God. I forgive, I heal, I Love, I Save. Come Children, Come to Me.

All have sinned and come short of the Glory of My Presence, but My Love has brought forth a Savior, My Son, Jesus Christ the Lord.

You are tired, weary, beaten, broken, sick, sad, disappointed, heavy with care. Come, My weary people, to Me. I am moved with compassion for you.

I gave My Life-Blood and was raised from the dead for you.
The enemy of the cross of Calvary, ravishes, lies, captivates, but call, cry, come. I set you free.
My arms of Love, Healing and Keeping are for you!
Come,. Come to Me!!

I speak, I thunder among satans loud bashing, brazen parade of destruction that he peddles. In the highways and by ways to the lost, dying, starving souls of humanity. He promises them everything and gives them DEATH. They speak death, sing death, thinks death, they wear death on their bodies, the marks of satan. They run to death, they revel in death, plunging into eternity, entangled in the death windings of satan. On the brink of hell, eternity, lost.

I cry aloud in the midst of the worlds last days, “Come to Me and be saved.” I cry to humanity, I cry to souls, I cry to a backslidden people. I cry to a cold, fornicating, adulterous church. “Your time is short!” I cry to you, “Cry out to Me, Come, Repent, Return, Recover.”

My prophets will say it, pray it, shout it. My prophets will sting the flesh, shake the soul, trouble the spirit saying, “Repent, Come, Return!”

Love cries to all. COME!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Sabbath



This is, by far, the best article I've ever seen on the subject of "The Sabbath."
It was retrieved from: http://www.jackhayford.org/articles1-473/TheSabbath

The Sabbath
by Jack Hayford

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. - Genesis 2:2-3

What a memory it is. I have never had my wife take a knife and hold it up in front of me except on that day. She wasn't going to stab me, but Anna was, in fact, preparing lunch in our kitchen, and when she made this point, she pounded a knife she was using on the butcher block. It was not characteristic of my wife to make a point that way, and eventually, we both started laughing.

"You cannot do this summer like that again!" She was talking about how I'd planned our vacations for the first twenty years of our life in ministry. I would accept speaking engagements at conferences, and our family would all pack up, get in the car and go. The kids would meet other kids and have fun. It was great travel. We went all over the country doing this, and en route we'd go to Yellowstone, Yosemite, or the Grand Canyon, or stop at places in the Midwest. We did this summer after summer. The kids never complained; it was a way of life. That's all they ever knew. Anna had never complained.

But this day, she'd finally said to me, "You're crazy if you think that's a rest." Her concern wasn't that we hadn't enjoyed our vacations together; her concern was for my well-being. We were, by this time, seven years deep in the phenomenon of The Church On The Way, and, without a proper time of rest, the enormous miracle of God taking place at our church was also taking a toll on me. Our home had begun to feel the pressure, and Anna was right; there was a need for a break that was truly a rest.

That summer, I took time to really look into the issue of the Sabbath in the Scriptures. I began with the Ten Commandments, where I realized God not only said for us to observe it because He did, but also He declared a blessing if we would.

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God...For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. - Exodus 20:8-11

Friend, let me ask you a question: What do you think about the Sabbath? The question is important because we often forget that the Sabbath isn't merely a suggestion; it's a commandment. So let's look at some of the most commonly asked questions concerning it.

Which day of the week should the Sabbath be observed?

I believe it's been a classic ruse of the enemy to focus the Sabbath question on the difference of opinion or tradition as to which day of the week it is observed. The Bible says in Romans 14:5-6 that argument is unnecessary. Speaking to Gentiles during the early Church's controversy over historical religious observances, the Apostle Paul makes clear that it isn't which specific day we observe, but that we observe a day.

The basic idea of "Sabbath" is "to cease or rest," literally "to stop." The idea is beautifully expressed in the word "intermission" as the interruption of one's own effort. That definition comes from the meaning of the Hebrew word in the original language of Scripture. As God modeled for us at creation, He is saying that His people must observe one day in seven as a day of rest from their own labors-a day for a change of pace.

What's the Sabbath for?

That the Sabbath be "sanctified," that is, set apart unto the Lord, does not mean in and of itself that the Sabbath was intended to be the day we go to church or even a day dedicated to worship. Worship is a way of life, an attitude of heart, not a one-day-in-seven mindset. Sanctification has to do with the restoration of wholeness, "holiness," to our lives; it isn't something we do to improve ourselves or try to earn points with God.

So if the focus of the Sabbath isn't worshiping God, then what's it for? It's for the purpose of altering our usual pattern in order that something regenerative, renewing, and re-creative would take place in us physically, mentally, and spiritually. That we would be restored to the wholeness God intends for us-in relationship with Him, in our behavior, in our bodies and minds, and in everything we do. That incorporates the need to be in His presence, it incorporates what we think of as worship expressions, and it incorporates time in His Word. It could incorporate "church," but we don't need to be in church for 24 hours in order to fulfill the Sabbath.

Do Christians still need to observe the Sabbath?

The Lord sanctified and blessed the Sabbath before the Law (the Ten Commandments) was established. Then in the Law, He reaffirmed it and indicated it is a high priority issue with Him. The New Testament has not dismantled that. Jesus makes it clear that we don't keep the Law in order to be acceptable before God or redeemed in His sight, but having been redeemed and restored to Him, the Law is significant for its practical, purposeful value in our lives. In fact, Jesus declares in the Gospel of Matthew that He comes not to destroy the Law but to fulfill it, and that whoever breaks the commandments shall be called "least in the kingdom of heaven" (5:17-19).

Rather than mere legalism, God is saying to us: You can't live without a Sabbath. You can't survive effectively in this portion of My creation called Earth unless you observe a day set apart. You need the rest, you need the change, and you need the transformation that comes about because of it.

Why did God observe the Sabbath?

In that summer season when my precious wife brought this matter to my attention, the Lord showed me what an idolatrous (and that's a tough word to use) thing it was to suppose I could survive with strength and effectiveness without observing one of the fundamental ordinances God had set forth. I was 42 years old and still feeling the vibrancy of youth. I didn't feel I needed to take a day of rest. So God asked me, "Jack, do you think I observed the Sabbath because I was tired?" Of course not. The Creator did it to model the Sabbath for us.

That was a revelation. God was not telling me to observe a change of pace because I was tired, but because I am human. To try to live any other way is to presume I can serve Him on my own terms and in my own strength.

How can I take time for the Sabbath when there's so much to do?

One of the most common arguments we have for not taking a day of rest is that we have so much work to do. When the Bible says the Lord blessed the Sabbath, He illustrated it in the distribution of the miracle of the manna. For six days the manna appeared on the ground. God told His people they would find and gather twice as much on the sixth day, and the next day, it wouldn't appear. He wanted to see if they would obey Him. Still, there were those who witnessed the miracle, and yet went out looking for it on the seventh day. Some of us continue to do that.

We are provided with direct guidelines in Scripture in which the Lord says, "If you'll do this, I'll bless it." The Sabbath is one of them. Over the years, I've come to learn that when I don't observe my Sabbath, my other days are not as productive. When I observe it, He blesses the rest of my days. It's like tithing. You give a tenth to the Lord, and He multiplies the rest beyond what it would be if it included that tenth. When you observe the one day in seven, He'll bless you with more wholeness and productivity than you could possibly attain by not taking a day of rest.

Enter into His rest

The concept of entering into the "rest of the Lord" summons our whole being-heart, mind, and body. Taking a "Sabbath break" is not only one day out of the week. In the Old Testament, there were assigned seasons of feasts in which God's people observed an "intermission" of their work. Some feasts were heart-searching, and others were just plain festive.

The Sabbath is woven through all of Scripture and carries covenant with it. Not the covenant of salvation but the covenant of refreshing on God's terms. In chapter four of Hebrews, the writer develops the whole episode of Israel's failure in the wilderness-a generation perished there, and the explanation given is that "they refused to enter into My rest."

The "rest of the Lord" is the place of being sustained by His power, of dependency on what He can do beyond what you or I can do-the place where we recognize He is the One who makes it happen. It's the covenant of possessing the land of His promised purpose in us by His power, not by our energy.

God's Word says there is a need for these times of breaking with routine. We are commanded to rest, whether we're talking about one day a week or a season of vacation. I thank Him for that day in the kitchen with Anna that brought this great commandment (and blessing) of God into purposeful, practical perspective for me.

Now I hope I've done that for you.

Copyright © 2009 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Three Keys To Releasing Life



For those that may not know who this man is, his name is Jack Hayford. Use to be a professor of mine while in college, later became our pastor for part of the time we lived in California. A brilliantly gifted man, compassionate minister, and teaches with God's heart, as well as the chansellor of a college that is based from the church he and his wife founded.

Pastor Hayford has a place on facebook that I've recently found....what a pleasant surprise. "Jack Hayford Ministries." He's offered a series on his Spirit Formed video ministry called "Three Keys To Releasing Life", that would really bless anyone that would wish to spend some time feeding your heart. There are three in this series:
The title of each of them are:
#1. Finding Release For A Strained Relationship
#2. Release From Tortured Circumstances
#3. Life-Long Release From Financial Bondage

Three Keys to Releasing Life

If you are interested, click on the link above. They are each only 30 minutes in length, and will encourage you and make a difference in your life. Two are made available at this time....I'm waiting for the third.

God Bless YOU!!!
Sharon


Friday, August 12, 2011

Obama's Plan to Sodomize America

White House being struck by lightening on Easter Sunday, 2011.

Sharon here,

This article I'm showing on my blog is authored by Noah W. Hutchings, is used here by permission, it was printed on the "Prophetic Observer" August 2011-Vol18, No. 8 Edition.

This is from Southwest Radio Ministries
P.O. Box 100
Bethany, Oklahoma 73008


While I am reproducing this article, it is not my intent to bring a doom & gloom message, nor do I use my blog as a political forum, but, again, to alert the CHURCH NOW to rise up and pray like she never has before, and to be who God has called her to be. She is to be a faithful watchman and make a difference while we are "occupying" this planet, this nation. We are to be the SALT and LIGHT of this globe. We're still here, we've not been taken to be with the Lord, yet, during these last and trying days. We're to make a difference with every breath we breathe, and every place we put our feet, and everything we put our hands to, by the help and grace of the Lord, in Jesus' Name.

Right?

Even though I've heard bits and pieces of these news items, Mr. Hutchings has done a good job at compiling the things he's used in writing the article.

So, please keep these things in mind, while you read, if you so choose to at this point. This is NOT the ONLY threat to our nation, but after reading this article, I hope it will renew your zeal for prayer.

Kindest Regards,
Sharon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Obama's Plan to Sodomize America


One of the first official acts of Barack Obama upon becoming president of the United States was to issue a proclaimation designating June, the traditional month of brides, as LGBT (or homosexual) Month. According to Obama this was done to honor this minority segment of the U.S. population (1.7%) as this nation's most important citizens. The full text of the proclamation was carried in the June 27, 2009, edition of San Francisco Pride. The reason for dedicating a month to honor homosexuals was stated in the opening sentence:

LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] Americans have made and continue to make great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society; LGBT Americans have mobilized the nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, and played a vital role in broadening the country's response in the HIV epidemic.

This opening statement regarding the actual role homosexuals have played in the U.S. history and the president's appraisal of their alerting other citizens to the need of solving the AIDS curse on humanity is beyond rational comprehension. Obama's narcissistic mindset aims to change the truth into a lie and a lie into the truth. It is a known fact that AIDS was first recognized as a new disease in 1981, when a number of young gay men in New York and Los Angeles were diagnosed with symptoms not usually seen in individuals with healthy immune systems. Originally named GRIDS for Gay Related Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS is mainly tranmitted through sexual activity and has already caused the death of hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In his book Real Change, Newt Gingrich shares that within three counties in Florida, AIDS victims hit Medicare for over $480 million in just six months. Evidence indicates that AIDS victims are bankrupting Medicare and robbing senior citizens of this insurance for which they have paid through salary deductions. The president continues in the next section of his homosexual proclamation:

I am proud to be the first president to appoint LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public service.

The fact is that the Senate complained that Obama was appointing "czars" without confirmation. The record also indicates that he has appointed over 150 homosexuals to high government offices with administrative responsibilities. It is difficult to name anyone in the new administration who is not a homosexual and if, as Obama says, these are indeed the best people, he would seem to include himself. In 2008 a Minnesota man named Larry Sinclair came forward and claimed that in 1999 he took cocaine with the then-Illinois legislator and participated in homosexual acts with him. Sinclair charges Obama smoked crack cocaine in the limo while Sinclair snorted powdered cocaine provided by the legislator. He says the two met in an upscale Chicago lounge before leaving in Sinclair's limousine where the drug use and sex took place for the first time. Sinclair, who says he is willing to submit to a polygraph test to validate his claims, stated, "My motivation for making this public is my desire for a presidential candidate to be honest," Sinclair told WND by telephone. "I didn't want the sex thing to come out. But I think it is important for the candidate to be honest about his drug use as late as 1999."

As to future plans for the homosexual segment of the population, the president continued:

My administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world....These measures include supporting civil unions...ensuring adoption rights, and ending existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policies in a way that strengthens the armed forces and national security.

Mr Obama admits, or professes, that he is not just a member of the Democratic Party, but he is also a member of the LGBT Party and that he will work to accomplish all homosexual goals while in office. These goals were set forth in the Gay Community News puiblication on Feburary 15, 1987, in an article titled "The Gay Manifesto," written by pen name Michael Swift:

We shall sodomize your sons, emblems of your feeble masculinity, of your shallow dreams and vulgar lies. We shall seduce them in your schools, in your dormitories, in your gymnasiums, in your locker rooms, in your sports arenas, in your seminaries, in your youth groups, in your movie theater bathrooms, in your army bunkhouses, in your truck stops, in your all male clubs, in your houses of Congress, wherever men are with men together. Your sons shall become our minions and do our bidding. They will be recast in our image. They will come to crave and adore us. ....All laws banning homosexual activity will be revoked. Instead, legislation shall be passed which engenders love between men. All homosexuals must stand together as brothers; we must be united artistically, philosophically, socially, politically and financially. We will triumph only when we present a common face to the vicious heterosexsual enemy. If you dare to cry faggot, fairy, queer, at us, we will stab you in your cowardly hearts and defile your dead, puny bodies....There will be no compromises. We are not middle-class weaklings. Highly intelligent, we are the natural aristocrats of the human race, and steely-minded aristocrates never settle for less. Those who oppose us will be exiled. We shall raise vast private armies, as Mishima did, to defeat you. We shall conquer the world because warriors inspired by and banded together by homosexual love and honor are invincible as were the ancient Greek soldiers. The family unit -- spawning ground of lies, betrayals, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence -- will be abolished. The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated...All churches who condemn us will be closed. Our only gods are handsome young men.

There has been much debate over the intent of "The Gay Manifesto." Some in the gay community shrug it off as a sarcastic joke, claimaing it was written to mock those against the homosexual agenda. However, most in the gay community embrace it as a battle hymn for the LGBT movement. To those of us standing against the sodomizing of our nation and its values, "The Gay Manifesto" is a very real, and very terrifying, threat. (For a full copy of "The Gay Manifesto," call 1-800-652-1144)

One of the goals of the Commmunist Party in weakening the United States was to use homosexuality as stated in Agenda 21. One specific goal was to infiltrate the armed forces. This was started by Bill Clinton during his presidency through the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" program under which 16,000 homosexuals enlisted. However, some 12,000 had to be dismissed because they not only told, they did what homosexuals do.

President Obama got the bill passed to allow unrestricted enrollment in the military services for homosexuals by submitting a false report to a lame duck Congress. According to a June 27, 2011, report by World Net Daily, the presidential report to Congress stated that 70 percent of the military polled said it was alright with them for gays to enlist. According to the Inspector General, the White House wrote the report before any such poll was taken.

Likewise a recent poll which claims that there are no adverse effects of gays joining the military services has been labeled false by Robert Knight in a June 15, 2011, One News Now report. Knight states that this information is inaccurate because military personnel cannot voice open objection to military orders. The implementation was slated to begin at the speed and affirmation of the commanding officers, yet a federal court order for July 7, 2011, showed that implementation must begin at once, without the permission of the military. These reports indicate President Obama committed to complete the proposed programs of the homosexual organizations, even under subterfuge and lies.

Another of the stated goals of the homosexual conspiracy is the destruction of the family untit. God made Adam first and then Eve and the couple subsequently had two children, Cain and Abel. God established the family between one man and one woman. While this order may vary in some religions and cultures, all still maintain that the family begins with a man and a woman. Without family, no civilization, social order, or government can exist. Without this continuing relatonship between the sexes, humanity degenerates to the level of animals. President Obama ordered that the Defense of Marriage Act not be defended by the federal government, and in a statement referenced by Yahoo! News on June 23, 2011, President Obama indicated he saw no difference between marriage of a man and a woman to the marriage of two of the same sex.

Seven states have made same-sex marriages legal, the latest being New York. Catholic Bishop Dimmarzio stated in a June 30, 2011, CNS news item that the Christian marriage has been demonized by both Democrates and Republicans, that the pillar of civilization has been destroyed, and that no senator, congressman, or government representative be allowed to enter any Catholic church in his parish.

This nation of some 300 million does not yet realize what is happening. According to the Department of Defense budget report on July 7, 2011, the spending will increase greatly due to the Defense of Marriage act being trashed and the president's acceptance of same-sex marriages because homosexual mates will now have the same rights to home expenses and support as Army wives.

A typical appointee of Obama is Chai Feldblum, a lesbian whom he selected to head the Equal Employment Commission. In fact, everyone who heads the federal employment agencies seems to be homosexual, according to the press recordings at the beginning of the president's term in 2009. According to the Traditional Values Coalition, Ms. (or whatever) Feldblum is not only a homosexual, she is polyamorous, meaning having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. Feldblum is a strong believer in gay-marriage rights. Chai is quoted as saying, "I'm having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious libery should win. Gays win, Christians lose!"

A CNS news item on June 27, 2011, reports, "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday that the U.S. State Department played an instrumental role in 'selling the deal' for pop rock musician Lady GaGa to perform at a gay pride parade in Rome, Italy." What are we doing here? Paying our secretary of state to act as an entertainment agent for homosexual affairs where participants openly commit the most vulgar acts known to the devil or mankind.

Obama's appointment of Kevin Jennings (founder of GLSEN [Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network} and one of the most outspoken homosexual activists in the world) to head the department of Education has now led to the demand that all schoolbooks include the history and lives of so-called famous homosexuals (Fox News, July 6, 2011). CNS reported a homosexual party sponsored by the Department of Education and Kathleen Sebelius, another Obama appointee, stated this party was to "insure that LGBT students' rights were protected." Now, many universities in the United States are granting LGBT degrees. A federal tax grant (your money) was given to the Gay Straight Alliance Network to teach homosexual youth to perform safer sex to keep the AIDS statistics down.

Many major government departments in Washington D.C. now have inner homosexual departments with websites. When was our Constitution amended to allow separate inner subversive units, paid for by taxpayer's dollars, whose purpose so stated is to teach our children how to "safely" sodomize each other and close our churches? The Department of Justice has a homosexual department and website headed, "DOJ PRIDE - The Official Web Presence for LGBT Employees and Their Allies." The website is composed of eight pages on the mission and purpose for the Department of Justice, but summarizes it as follows:

Besides conducting outreach to prospective employees, DOJ Pride sponsors brown-bag lectures featuring experts in the LGBT community discussing issues of importance in DOJ members, such as marriage equality. Finally, through its yearly Pride Month Celebration and Award Ceremony, DOJ Pride has taken an active role in recognizing the work of LGBT supporters inside the Department of Justice, the Federal Government, and the Nation.

Even the CIA is jumping on the pro-LGBT bandwagon. A news item dated July 11, 2011, on DallasCaller.com is headlined, "CIA TO Sponsor LGBT Advocacy Group Summit." The reason stated for this CIA diversion is "to promote diversity within CIA ranks," says CIA spokeswoman Marie Hart. Evidently promoting homosexuality takes precedent above protecting our nation against terrorists and spies. The president and his offices have been bought by the homosexual conspiracy. As Oklahoma representative Sally Kern states repeatedly in her book, The Stoning of Sally Kern, this is the greatest danger to the freedom and sovereignty of the United States in our nation today.

There are sixteen references in the books of the prophets to warn nations against committing the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. Israel's two good kings, Asa and Josiah, begain their reigns by trashing the sodomites' houses, probably bath houses, and chasing them out of town. There are six references to Sodom and Gomorrah in the Gospels and Jesus was not exactly suggesting these cities as vacation resorts.

Paul began his letter to the Christians in Rome to warn them against becoming morally and spiritually corrupted by that homosexually saturated society. Paul warned the Christians about homosexuals who sin against God's created order:

For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change their natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;...Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. -Romans 1:26-28, 32

When Peter wrote his last epistle he knew that within a few days he would be crucified, and he evidently felt he had to leave the warning to Christians that they must not follow the example of Sodom and Gomorrah (II Peter 2:6). I did not teach from the Southern Baptist Quarterly lesson for July 3, 2011, because it indicated that the sin Peter referenced was gluttony or over-eating.

Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, was determined to write an epistle on the love of God in sending his brother Jesus to die for the sins of the world. However the Holy Spirit stopped him and told him to write to the churches warning about sodomites in the pulpit:

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into laciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ....Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. -- Jude 4, & 7-8

The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin, and the fear of homosexuality is a concern that every Christian should have. Today sodomites are being ordained as decons and pastors in many churches. There is only one pastor in Oklahoma City that I know of who has the courage to stand up on the pulpit and teach what God says about homosexuals and the destruction that this sin against nature brings to any nation that does not heed the example of Sodom and Gomorrah. That pastor is Paul Blair of the Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. Even Glenn Beck, O'Rilly of Fox, or Rush Limbaugh, recognized voices for conservatism, dare not mention one negative word about homosexuals.

Our president has made a commitment to fulfill the homosexual agenda for the sodomization of the United States. He is being paid to do it. Pastors and teachers are scared to touch the subject, hiding in fear behind their pulpits. Over and over Sodom is given in the Bible as an example for nations who act likewise. It is up to Christians like me, an 88-year-old WWII verteran who spent three years in the South Pacific, to warn our nation that God is going to give up on us unless there is an awakening in our nation and repentance in our churches.

The Bible describes the homosexual lifestyle as "unseemly," meaning wicked beyond imagination. Yet the homosexuals among us do have the right to vote, own property, and engage in business with only ecclesiastical limitations, as should be understandable. They also have the right to live together and pursue their particular lifestyle. Yet this is not enought for our government who is now trying to force the acceptance of this unhealthy, immoral, even deadly lifestyle on all of us. I love my country, so please join me in prayer to our God who hears when no one else does.

I believe that the next half century will determine if we will advance the cause of Christian civilization or revert to the horrors of brutal paganism. The thought of modern industry in the hands of Christian charity is a dream worth dreaming. The thought of industry in the hands of paganism is a nightmare beyond imagining. The choice between the two is upon us.
Theodore Roosevelt


History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster.
General Douglas MacArthur

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is Your Church Going "Purpose Driven?" - How Can You Tell?



Sharon here,
I'm sure that there are some Bodies of Believers that have/are making some changes within their churches that are not pernicious. However, as this article points out, there some alarming changes that they, as an organization, have produced in their "format" to remove basic tenants of our faith, and wanting to give a dangerous "facelift" to the GOSPEL. This is what I thought made this article worthy of passing along.

I ask God to HELP US to be able to distinguish between the holy and the profane. In Jesus' Name.

Kindest Regards,
Sharon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Is Your Church Going Purpose Driven?
How Can You Tell?


In the past ten years a large percentage of churches in America, and in other countries, have changed from a traditional New Testament church model to a contemporary Purpose Driven model, many with sorrowful results.

Contrary to Purpose Driven Church porponents, millions have been leaving their churches after the change occurred.

It is important that every church member know if their church is targeted for a Purpose Driven Church takeover.

Initially, a small clique of church staff, possibly including the pastor or a new pastor, plans the change without telling the rest of the church membership.

Church Transitions, an associate of Saddleback Church in California, trains the clique initiating the change in eight published steps. The church membership is not to be informed of the transition until the fourth step. After the sixth step in the process of change, if there are some in the church who voice concerns, the following is suggested:

1. Identify those who are resisting the changes;
2. Assess the effectiveness of their opposition;
3. Befriend those who are undecided about the changes;
4. Marginalize more persistent resisters;
5. Vilify those who stay and fight;
6. Establish new rules that will silence all resistance.


This means the church membership is not told until it is too late to make a difference. In other words the members either accept the changes, or leave the church, which they may have served and given to build.

Dr. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life has stated: "When you reveal the vision to the church, the old pillars are going to leave. But let them leave...they only hold things up."

Dr. Warren is right in one way. It is the senior members of the church who do indeed hold a church up and keep it from falling into apostasy. While some PDC initiators may not implement the full PDC format, generally these are the signs indicating that your church may be targeted for a Purpose Driven Church format:

1. Change in music to a contemporary rock style.

2. Removal of hymn books; eliminating the choir.

3. Replacement of organ and piano with heavy metal instruments.

4. Repetitive singing of praise lyrics.

5. Dressing down to casual attire.

6. Eliminating of business meetings, church committees, council of elders, board of deacons, etc.

7. The pastor, or a new leader with a few assistants, usually four, takes charge of all church business.

8. A repetitive 40-day Purpose Driven Church study program stressing psychological relationships with each other, the community, or the world, begins.

9. Funded budgeted programs are abandoned, or ignored, with ambiguous financial reports made.

10. Sunday morning, evening, and/or Wednesday prayer meetings are changed to other times; some may even be eliminated.

11. Sunday School teachers are moved to differnt classes, or replaced by new teachers more sympathetic with the changes being implemented.

12. The name "Sunday school" is dropped and classes are given new names.

13. Crosses and other traditional Christian symbols may be moved from both the inside and outside of the church building. The pulpit may also be removed.

14. In accordance with Dr. Warren's instructions, new version Bibles are used; or only verses flashed on a screen are referenced during regular services.

15. Purpose Driven Church films, purchased from Saddleback, precede or are used during regular services.

16. The decor, including the carpets, may be changed to eliminate any resemblance to the former church.

17. The word "church" is often taken from the name of the church, and the church may be called a "campus." Denominational names may also be removed.

18. An emphasis on more fun and party sessions for the youth.

19. Elimination of altar calls or salvation invitations at the close of the services.

20. The elimination of such words as "unsaved," "lost," "sin," "Hell," "Heaven," and other gospel verities from the pastor's message.

21. The reclassification of the saved and lost to the "churched" and "unchurched."

22. The marginalizing, or ostricizing, of all who are not avid promoters of the new Purpose Driven program.

23. Closed meeting between the pastor or chosen staff members without any reports made to the general membership.

24. Open hostility to members who do not openly embrace the new program, or who may have left for another church.


What You Can Do


If your church is in the initial stages of change (music or the first 40-day program), your church could be saved by talking to other church members, and with activist intervention by 10-20 percent of the membership. If nothing is done at this early stage, then by the time the program advances to step four, there is little that can be done except look for another church. Your church has become a Purpose Driven entity in association with Saddleback Church of Orange County or Willow Creek of Chicago.

You must educate yourself, and others, so that you can mobilize the membership to effectively resist. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7).

Dr. Warren in his world peace plan has stated intentions of sending one billion Christians into the world to eliminate human problems. The number one characteristic of a cult is a messianic, charismatic leader.

Purpose Driven Church books are published by Zondervan, one of Rupert Murdoch's many properties, including 175 newspapers and international television and satellite communications, including in China. Various reports indicate he is building his third wife, Windi Deng, a 22,000 foot mansion in the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Dr. Warren stated on May 23, 2005, at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: "The word 'fundamentalist' actually comes from a document in the 1920's called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity."

The five fundamentals of the faith to which Dr. Warren objected are:

1. The inerrancy and full authority of the Bible.

2. The virgin birth and full Deity of Jesus Christ.

3. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

4. Christ's atoning, vicarious death for the sins of the world.

5. The literal second coming of Jesus Christ.


Are we to believe that Christians who hold to these basic foundational doctrines of the Christian faith are narrow and legalistic? According to the New Testament definition, those who believe otherwise are not Christians.

To start a Purpose Driven Church or change to one with the full knowledge and consent of the membership is one thing, but to practically steal a church from Christians who have given and served to build it without their knowledge or consent is quite another.

Don't be fooled by the Saddleback website. You don't catch many fish unless you have a look-alike bait!




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This article is used by permission, and was taken from a tract published by:
Southwest Radio Ministries
Box 100, Bethany, OK 73008
1-800-652-1144
www. swrc.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dear God, Thank You



Dear God, thank You!


I want to thank You for what You have already done.
I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry or until they stop talking about me;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves;
I am going to thank You right now.

I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet;
I am going to thank You right now.

I am not going to wait until I get promoted at work or until I get the job;
I am going to thank You right now.

I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed;
I am thanking You right now.

I am thanking You because I am alive.

I am thanking You because I made it through the day's difficulties.

I am thanking You because I have walked around the obstacles.

I am thanking You because I have the ability and the opportunity to do more and do better.

I'm thanking You because, Father, YOU haven't given up on me.

(forwarded by Johanna Boman
mikeysFunnies.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I Chronicles 23:30 - ... Stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at evening

I Thessalonians 2:13 - ....We also thank God without ceasing...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

When Sin and Religion Become Friends



WHEN SIN AND RELIGION BECOME FRIENDS
by Carter Conlon - Pastor of Times Square Church, New York, New York.

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22–23).

What did Jesus mean when He said, “If the light that is in you be darkness?” Taken in context, we see that He was speaking about the impossibility of serving two masters at the same time. He continued, “…either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

Jesus used the example of money here, but He was illustrating a much deeper principle—a struggle that all of us face from time to time. It occurs when we come to even a minimal understanding of the ways of God, yet in our own hearts think we know a better way. For instance, when we believe we can secure a better future if we simply follow our own reasoning. Or when we believe we can achieve greater happiness if we don’t take the pathway God has prescribed, but instead take an easier and more attractive one. In other words, it is the constant struggle between either serving God or serving ourselves as god.

It is possible to have a clear vision of what is of true value, yet still choose to set our affections on something we know to be potentially harmful. It is possible to sit under the Word of God, to know what He is saying, but inside still wonder, “How close can I get to the fence before I am outside? How close can I walk to the line before I am rejected? How much do I really need to obey God?”


CHOOSING ANOTHER PATHWAY

In the book of Ezekiel, a prophecy was given to the king of Tyrus; this is believed by many to actually refer to the fall of Satan and his subsequent corrupting of the human race. The Lord said through Ezekiel, “You have been in Eden, the garden of God, and every precious stone was your covering. You had an anointing, and you were put in an appointed place. You walked in the presence of God—in holy places with an unhindered view of who God really is. You were perfect in your ways until the very ability which I gave you corrupted you” (see Ezekiel 28:13–15).

Satan was in the presence of God and had an unrestricted view of the perfect Light. The Scriptures seem to bear witness that there was a specific beauty about Satan. He was granted great gifts and was perhaps one of the finer created beings in heaven at that particular moment. However, these very gifts from God corrupted him, which we see occur in the human race over and over again.

For example, people with brilliant minds become absolutely corrupted by that intellect, using the thought process to stray farther and farther away from the kingdom of God.

Just as Satan had an unrestricted view of the Lord, we as children of God have the Holy Spirit within us, enabling us to understand the Scriptures and discern between right and wrong. So in another measure, we too have an unrestricted view of God. That means if we want truth, we can have it; if we want freedom, it can be ours; if we want life, it is promised.

Even with the pureness of that Light before him, Satan chose another pathway, following his own reasoning. He began to chafe at what he considered to be narrowness, convinced that he knew a better way. He mistakenly believed that he could be his own god, create his own reality, and live by his own concept of right and wrong. That was his downfall.

Cast out of heaven, Satan then came down to Adam and Eve and sowed his own logic into the human race. “Listen, God created you and put you in this garden tending these plants and naming a few animals, but don’t you think you were created for more than this? If you just do it my way, you can become as gods, knowing what is good and evil. I know God says that certain things are good and certain things are evil, but you don’t have to live in this narrow way.”

In his own mind, Satan had become god, the same danger you and I face today. He sowed into all of humanity this desire to be as God—to create our own concept of good and evil. An example of this would be when we refuse to forgive a person who has wronged us and conclude, “It is fine that I have not forgiven him. I know what God says, but this person just does not deserve to be forgiven.” Or when we steal in the workplace and say, “They don’t pay me enough, and last year I did not get that vacation I deserve, so this is good.” All the while we are well aware that the Scripture says no thief will inherit the kingdom of God.

Beloved, there is no deeper darkness than when sin and religion become friends. There is incredible power in this deceptive state. The Bible tells us that Satan succeeded in taking one–third of the angels with him in his rebellion, and he is still at work today attempting to incite a similar rebellion among those who claim to be followers of Christ.


A COVERING OF RELIGION

As the apostle Paul put it, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18). In other words, they hold the truth with a heart that is not surrendered. They read God’s Word but will not obey it, even when it is plain and clear.

“…they worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator… and God gave them over to a reprobate mind…” (Romans 1:25, 28). A reprobate mind means corrupt thinking, a crooked mind. You and I should always pray that we never reach such a point! Unfortunately, I have met people like this—sitting in the house of God with all kinds of practices that are very clearly prohibited in Scripture. Yet after years of refusing to obey God, it is almost as if their thinking cannot be straightened. They choose instead to worship the thoughts of their own hearts, and sin and religion eventually become friends, bringing them to a place where they begin to call evil good.

There is no greater darkness than when that which is inwardly corrupt takes on a covering of religion. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33). In other words, “You have so covered yourselves in corruption and religion that you have bought yourselves a ticket to hell. How will you escape? How will you change? You have embraced this corrupted reasoning of Satan, covering death and decay with fine clothing and sweet religious words, but inwardly you hate God!”

At another point, Jesus also said to them, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning…” (John 8:44). He basically told the Pharisees, “I know that you are going to kill Me. I have come to you with words from God to bring you into freedom, but you have fallen for the deceptive strategy of Satan. Now you are entrenched in a wrong way of thinking, leaving you with two alternatives—either you will repent of your sin, or you will kill the voice that has been sent to draw you to the presence of God.”

It is amazing when sin and religion combine. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “If the light that is in you be darkness—if you have sat under truth but embraced a lie—how deep that darkness is.” It would be better to be the most overt, reprehensible sinner and know it; at least then you would have a chance to be redeemed. Unfortunately, many people reach a place where they sit in the house of God, having put on a covering of religion while embracing a wrong view of God and His ways.


KORAH'S REBELLION

The Lord gives us another picture of this intertwining of sin and religion in the book of Numbers. As Moses was leading the people of God through the wilderness, a man named Korah succeeded in rousing two hundred and fifty of the Israelites to stand in opposition to divine order and God’s leadership through Moses.

As Korah assembled those in rebellion, “So they each took his own censer and put fire on it, and laid incense on it; and they stood at the doorway of the tent of meeting…” (Numbers 16:18, NASB). There they stood, each holding a censer—a type of prayer and holy devotion to God—completely unaware that they were about to be burned by the presence of God. Notice that the Scripture says they were men of renown! How did they get to that state?

Recall that God supernaturally brought the children of Israel out from slavery in Egypt, and along with the deliverance imparted giftings and leadership ability. However, this led to an inner corruption, and all it took was for Satan to use that strategy once again and say, “This is too narrow! Think of the glory that could be yours! You are meant to lead, you are not meant to follow!”

Do you understand the power of your own heart to deceive you? Each of us has an inner capability to walk away from God and develop completely corrupted scriptural reasoning around it. Bear in mind that it was the most religious nation on earth that cried out for the death of the Son of God. They had the Scriptures and a revelation of God if they had wanted it. They chose, instead, to form a religion to cover their inner corruption. Jesus looked at the leaders and said, “You appear righteous but you are full of death inside. You clean the outside of the cup, but inwardly there is simply decay” (see Matthew 23:25). Just as they had a choice, today you and I must decide either to believe God and what He says, or to embrace ourselves as God, considering our own covering as sufficient.


IF YOUR EYE IS SINGLE

“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (John 1:4–5). It is important to realize that the light shone in a religious darkness—that was the darkness that didn’t comprehend it. Isn’t it strange that the lepers comprehended it, the prostitutes responded to it, and even the dead could hear it? Yet religion has a certain death about it, making it almost impossible to hear the voice of God.

“…if your eye be single, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). You will not be in darkness if you are singly focused, standing before God, saying, “Lord, whatever You say is wrong, I will regard as wrong; and whatever You say is right, I will follow. By Your Spirit I will do what You ask me to, and wherever You lead me, I will follow.”

Paul spoke these words regarding Israel,“But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:14). Religion had blinded their minds, and they had created a system operating outside of truth.

“But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away”
(2 Corinthians 3:15–16). Yes, a day is coming when Israel will turn to the Lord, but this is also a principle that applies to us today. When we turn to the Lord, the veil that hinders us from the fullness of life that God offers us is taken away. “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:17–18). Here the meaning of “liberty” is generosity. As we are willing to surrender with an honest heart before God, we suddenly become aware of His incredible generosity. The Lord says, “I am willing to give you a new heart and a new mind. I am willing to put love, joy, and longsuffering inside of you. I am willing to give you peace in the midst of the storm; strength in the midst of your weakness. I am willing to do what cannot be done apart from My strength within you.”

We are changed from glory to glory as we behold Him, and the veil of incomplete religion and deceptive reasoning of the human heart is taken away. Our hearts are changed, and the whole focus of our lives is to honor God and see fallen men brought to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is a miraculous life that we enter into. Religion is obnoxious and ultimately leads to death, but in Christ is life, joy and peace.


“If your eye be single, your whole body will be full of light.”
In other words, every chain, every wall, every enemy, and every power of hell begins to be broken. You will be given strength that can come only from the Lord, and your body will be a declaration of His keeping power. Your whole body—everything you are, all that you say, whatever you touch, everything you do—will become an expression of God. Your entire body will be full of light if you choose to do things God’s way.


WHAT IS GOD SPEAKING TO YOU?

So now the question arises: What is God telling you to forsake, and what is He calling you to go toward? There is a distinct call to each of us, and this is where we will either cover sin with religion, or throw off that false garment and move toward a holy God, saying, “Lord, I am going where you are calling me. I will not create a religion in my own heart that allows me to move in the direction of death, thinking it is life. I will walk the pathway that You have set before me.”

Beloved, don’t fall into the religious trap of becoming your own god and justifying wrong. Don’t put off what God has called you to do, for the more you put it off, the greater the chance that you will make peace with it and eventually call it good. If you are under conviction, if you are reading your Bible and the Holy Spirit has His finger very clearly on an area of your life, don’t harden your heart to His voice! Over time you will end up making peace with it—covering it and calling it holy, as is the habit of our fallen nature.

I encourage you today to do what you know God says is right and to forsake all that you know to be wrong, no matter how difficult it may be. We all are going to need the strength of Christ to get through the coming days. We will need our inheritance in Christ, which God desires to give to us—but everything that is a reproach to God must be put away. As we make the choice to do things God’s way, allowing no friendship between sin and religion in our lives, the absolute outworking of it will be joy and strength, direction in the storm, provision in famine, victory in the battle. Hallelujah!

Carter Conlon
©2011 Times Square Church

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Want To Avoid TROUBLE In Your Life?



8 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
9 For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
10 Those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, Bound in affliction and irons--
11 Because #1 they rebelled against the words of God, And #2) despised the counsel of the Most High
,
12 Therefore He brought down their heart with labor; They fell down, and there was none to help.
13 Then  they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. ,
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces. ,
15 Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
16 For He has broken the gates of bronze, And cut the bars of iron in two.
17 Fools, because of their transgression, And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Psalm 107:8-17

We will find trouble in our lives IF:
#1) We rebel against the words of God
#2) And despise the counsel of the Most High
.

I WILL OBEY ALL OF GOD'S WORD.
I WILL NOT DESPISE HIS COUNSEL.

I John 2:16: tells us: For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.

"The world" does not refer to the physical creation, but to the sphere of evil operating in our world under the dominion of satan.

Fortunately, with the finished work of Jesus, He told us in Luke 10:19, 20: "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

The only enemy that God has is one called satan, we're told how to earmark he and his work in John 10:10: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."

The writer of James, tells it stright out in James 1:12-17:
12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation (endure=to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one's faith in Christ); for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God [is] eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

None of us can mess around with sin. Ignoring God's Word and His counsel is serious business, it will put us in a hole that WE cannot handle. By that time, it will take laying down pride and sin that already has a strong hold. Once anyone finds themselves blinded, in darkness, bound in afflictions and irons without humbling ourselves before God will eventually bring the wages of sin.

"They fell down and there was none to help. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and broke the chains of pieces. Oh that men would give tghanks to the Lortd for aHis goodness, and for His wonderful works to the childeren of men! For He has broken the gates of bronze, and cut the bars of iron in two." Psalm 107:12-16

We've got to submit our WHOLE lives to the Lord, our desires, our tongue, our committment to Him. I don't want the devil to have a hook in my flesh, so that his seed can be conceived - give birth to sin, and for sin to become fully grown, to bring death, in my life. Do you?

Under our own steam, we're no match for satan or any of his minions, but remember what we're told in Luke 10:19 ? We've been given power over ALL the power of satan, through the finished work of Jesus.

Jesus died on the cross, decended into hell (FOR US), defeated satan on his own turf, and ALL of satans minions witnessed that defeat. They KNOW that their masters defeat is their own defeat. ANY TIME we submit ourselves to God, with HIS WORD, we're MORE than CONQUORERS through Christ. Just like a wrestler goes out into a ring for a fight, wins the match, and comes home to Mama with a check in hand, the winnings for his efforts. Mama is MORE than a conquorer. So are WE!!!

In Colossians 2:15 we're told that Jesus: ...disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

This is what He did while He was in hell, while defeating satan. Hallelujah!!! That's why He could tell us what He did in Luke. That's why we can, with confidence, stand against every tactic of hell used against us.

Matthew 6:19 tells us: "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

We have the authority to bind and loose, which means binding up the devil and his work, and casting him away, not to return or go to another...and loosing ourselves and others from the work of satan.

When our enemy, satan, bring thoughts, and temeptations to us, what we are able to do is make use of God's Word. THIS is what the devil responds to, the BLOOD OF JESUS, the NAME OF JESUS and THE WORD OF GOD.

THE WORD OF GOD: Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

THE NAME OF JESUS: Philippians 2:10 "... that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth

THE BLOOD OF JESUS: Revelation 12:11 "And they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death."

What WE'VE got to do is Romans 12:1,2
1 Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

Renew our minds to God's Word. Making it the first line of defence in our lives agains the devil.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

If we have the Word of God under our belt, in our hearts and in our minds, when our enemy comes along with a defeating lie, or temptation, we can pull it out and make use of it. Submitting ourselves to God, rebuking the devil and he MUST flee. We need to learn to make use of God's Word, the Blood of Jesus and the Name of Jesus.

If we do not have that advantage working for us, then we will be presented with a trap from the devil, and be taken unawares - and not just "taken" by surprise, but overcome by him, into a dark place that we cannot escape from without God.

We will find trouble in our lives IF:
#1) We rebel against the words of God
#2) And despise the counsel of the Most High


If we do not give God's Word the honorable place, FIRST PLACE, in our hearts and lives and mouths, there will be open season on human.
If our minds are not RENEWED to God's Word, we will not have it ready in our heart to be spoken out against the tactics of hell. We've got good instruction from the Lord. We've got to OBEY His Word, not rebel against ANY of it.

Remember Luke 6:45? "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks"

While renewing our minds to God's Word, after a time, it settles right down into our spirit (heart), and is made ready for use, with our MOUTH. "The word of our testimony," being set in agreement with God's Word, coming out of the abundance of our heart.

THAT is how we defeat the enemy of our lives. That's how Jesus dealt with him.
Remember when Jesus went into the wilderness to pray and fast, preparing himself for ministry? Three times satan challenged Jesus, and His response was: IT IS WRITTEN

Matthew 4:3-10
3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
4 But He answered and said, "It is written,, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.' "
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,
6 and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.' "
7 Jesus said to him, "It is written, again, 'You shall not tempt the LORD your God.' "
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9 And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."
10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written,, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.' "

Jesus made use of God's Word and defeated the devil with it.
He gave us a good example, don't you think?

I want to avoid trouble in my life. I shall, with the help and grace of God, continue to renew my mind to God's Word and be an overcomer, by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of my testimony...my agreement with God's Word, and the devil MUST FLEE, every single time. I will NOT be overcome/overtaken by any lie of the devil or any symptom he may attmept to place in my path. I AM an overcomer!!!!.....and I WILL receive ALL of God's Counsel in my life, in Jesus' Name.